Civic 1993. First end to end / foto: SB OneIt was underneath the shadow of Crawford Long Hospital overlooking Interstate 285. By day it served as an overpriced parking lot and undercover homeless refuge. A two minute walk from Civic Center Train Station, The Civic Yard was to ATL , what 149th street was to NYC in the early days. For this installment we take a look at some of the first pieces to take the yards virginity and get it in raw doggie. On deck, graffiti historian and author of STEEL WHEELS, Cole T. Only.
Civic Yard in the 1952
J-SKI / Civic Yard 1990 / foto: ESTRO – BTS IWSR CMH
“Most of the old school cats had quit or were off the scene by 1990. Shit was kind of stagnant. At that time all the writers in the city (all 4 of them) thought civic was illegal – it hadn’t blossomed into a legal wall yet. I got involved in the Atlanta scene in fall 1992 [with Hens]. Hens and I went to the same school and we thought we were the only two writers in the whole city (typical arrogant Yankees). We met up with Chase, Sense, and Sae1. The 5 of us started trading ideas and planning.” ~ Cole T. Only
Foto: SB One
“While the Atlanta graff renaissance was beginning, the first writer I knew as an “out of towner” came through from Miami. He wrote GB One (R.I.P.) and he bombed the city pretty hard by the standards of the day. By 1993, signs of life were beginning to appear – cats were getting the bug.”
Jaz One UCA » Our Vision Aint Blurry / Civic Yard 1990 / foto: Estro
“Atlanta was also on its way to have a major opportunity driven population explosion. With this population explosion came a few writers from far and near. Rayse and Chase came from California, Lern from Jacksonville Fl., Emer from Minneapolis, Sense from Washington D.C., Hens and yours truly were from the Big Apple, to name a few. But lets be clear, a lot of the important writers that helped shape the Atlanta graff scene, style and culture were homegrown ATL hardheads. Leon, Jaz, Sae1, Save, Sic and Cann (who hit Marta before anyone) were right off the skreets of ATL.”
Def City Kings x Under Cover Artists / Civic Yard 1990 / TUK (The United Kings) in black calling DCK UCA toy shit / foto: Estro
“Between 1990 and 1995, the ATL graffiti scene was going through a renaissance. Most of the old 1980s writers had quit or left the scene and the new generation was coming up. Although it seemed like pure foolishness at the time , the existence of legal yards, were actually pretty integral part of the scene during the early 90s. Atlanta had about 4 of them. The legal yard concept was delivered to Atlanta by Chase, who came from L.A. home of the famous Belmont tunnel.”
Foto: Seer One
“Some may argue this legal element stunted the growth of illegal bombing, but there was still a good bit of illegal bombing going on while these legal yards were around. Before graffiti was a “quality of life issue” in Atlanta legal yards provided an opportunity for writers to paint without being bothered by the authorities. The most popular legal yard was the famous Civic Center yard on the corner of Peachtree and Pine Street in the heart of Downtown Atlanta. Riders and Writers passing through the Civic Center station could also catch a glimpse of the walls as the train ran through the station.”
RAYSE (freestyle reversed outline) by RAYSE / Civic Yard 1993 / foto: SB OneHAZE ,DEE and RAYSE production / Civic Yard 1993
Eros + Crisis AKB NTS / outside wall @ Civic Yard 94 / foto: Seer One
“Most of the city’s writers went there – often. If not to paint, just to hang out and socialize with other writers. Also, this was a prime location to run surveillance on toys who would diss pieces and not leave their name. If you saw this go down, you could come down from the back wall on them real quick and issue whatever punishment you saw fit. This happened a lot more than people know about too. Wish we had something like this still today. Some of the other more popular legal yards include: Eats Wall, The Lot and the 40oz yard.”
“Bridge spots like Sale yard, Tres Yard, SoSo Def and Freedom Parkway were just beginning to be taken advantage of in the 93-95 period. So many writers have come and gone through this city, some short term visits, some long-term visits. Some are now permanent residents, while others have just disappeared into thin air. We had a lot of fun with graffiti in those days and I miss them dearly. Without yesterday there would be no today and without today, there would be no tomorrow. To all the ATL writers old and new (except the bitch ass toys) keep on rocking’ Stay Tuned to Freshly Serious for more Atlanta graffiti time machine business.”
Face by Lern GHA and Bud by SB1 – 1993. At the time we thought Civic was illegal so we were painting there at night. Me and Hens rolled up on Lern and Idea while they were doing this and they almost shitted on themselves. This was the first time I wrote Network with a circle N.
Famous character by Jaz UCA at the civic center 1993
Muer by Haze CMH at Civic Yard 1994 / foto: SB One
Seven ISC at the Civic Yard 1994 / foto: SB One
FINI. Upcoming: The Christopher Columbus of ATLs 40s Yard, the early ATL freight scene and the history, importance, and impact of the MIATL Connection. Maximum large to Estro, Sic One, Lester and Bellypool.